A contingency plan can be established internally or by a turnkey supplier of temporary equipment. Details that should be considered include availability of equipment; lead time for delivery, installation and operational preparations; drawings of the proposed layout to determine real estate requirements; 24 hour point of contact; and cost efficiency.
Such a plan may incorporate the use of temporary cooling towers. Temporary cooling towers are available with capacities from 50 to 500,000 gal/min, and accessories such as pumps, piping, electrical distribution, transformers and generators can be packaged with the tower.
Companies specializing in providing equipment for temporary needs can provide these towers within hours of the identified need. Systems are configured to be truck delivered and ready for operation with simple flexible hose pipe-up.
But, use of temporary cooling towers is not reserved for emergency situations alone. Here are four more ways you may want to consider employing temporary cooling towers at your facility.
Allow Required MaintenanceOftentimes, companies are forced to delay necessary cooling tower maintenance due to production demands. In some cases, it is possible to shut down a portion of a cooling tower to perform maintenance, but even if shut down occurs during cooler weather, production can suffer.
In addition, working on an active cooling tower presents many hazards. The maintenance engineer must work over an open basin, which presents the possibility of hot moist air steaming up his safety glasses. Steamed glasses increase risks during maintenance and limit the worker's ability to properly inspect the structure. In addition, when working in a live cooling tower environment, maintenance engineers often are required to wear fresh-air respirators to protect against possible airborne contaminants. Wearing a respirator restricts the worker's productivity and limits communication between workers.
Installing a temporary cooling tower allows you to take the permanent system offline for repair or replacement without interrupting production. When temporary cooling towers are used during cooling tower repairs, the risk of an accident can be reduced and the time required for repairs minimized.
Augment Cooling CapacitySome cooling towers fall short of design capacity, causing plant productivity to suffer, especially in the hot summer months. Temporary cooling towers can relieve this problem. Used in conjunction with a permanent cooling tower, temporary units can increase capacity by as much as 25% and reduce cold water temperatures by an average of 4 to 5°F (~2 to 3°C).
Proper sizing is necessary. Just as permanent cooling towers are configured to handle different water qualities, so are temporary towers. Water quality should be evaluated to ensure the temporary tower implemented is suited for the application.
Relieve BottlenecksWhen a heat exchanger or group of heat exchangers is limited by temperatures and water flow, installing a temporary cooling tower system can provide the solution to the bottleneck. By removing the limited exchangers from the main cooling tower, the remaining exchangers receive additional cooling and pumping capacity. To facilitate this, the removed exchangers can be tied into a temporary cooling system designed specifically to remove the desired amount of heat and pump the appropriate amount of water at the head conditions required.
This is usually a hot weather problem, and the exchangers can be valved back to the permanent tower system when conditions permit. While this installation is relatively simple and results are predictable, the actual valving from one system to the other can be complex. Proper planning and well-trained installation personnel are required to perform this task without interrupting the cooling water service.
Allow Pilot TestingOften, cooler water or increased water flow would allow higher production capacities or improve process quality. However, without proof, it can be difficult to get approval for the capital needed to purchase a permanent system. Temporary cooling tower systems allow engineers to perform pilot testing of new or experimental production lines, test theories and measure the results.
As has been shown, temporary cooling towers are suited for more than just emergency situations. If you have need for additional cooling capacity from your cooling system, consider whether a temporary tower can meet your needs.